Well over 40 protesters were arrested yesterday after they scaled the fences into Duarte Square, the vacant lot at Canal Street and Sixth Ave owned Trinity Wall Street. The demonstrators entered the lot with the help of a ladder (that was later confiscated by NYPD) before police intervened—and members of the clergy, current or retired, were some of the first people detained. As the hundreds of demonstrators swelled against the fences, police struggled to prevent the lot from being overrun. A NYPD spokesperson could not confirm the number of arrests or the charges because they have not yet been finalized.
The bishop arrested is retired Episcopalian Bishop George Packard, who was a former army chaplain in Iraq. He writes at Occupy Bishop, and in the back of the police van on the way to processing, he explains why he believes Trinity Wall Street refuses to allow the protesters to use Duarte Square.
As police attempted to control the crowd around Duarte Square, several journalists accused the NYPD of using heavy-handed tactics. In some case's literally, as a reporter for the Voice noted that a cop punched a protester in the face.
Following the action at Duarte Square, the crowd began marching onto Sixth Ave then up the west side of Manhattan towards Times Square. At 29th Street and Seventh Ave, police apparently kettled at least a hundred protesters, before releasing the group with warnings to not block the sidewalk. Reporters from the Observer and the Times witnessed the arrests of protesters between 29th Street and Times Square.
The rector of Trinity Church, the Rev. Dr. James Cooper, issued an updated statement on the church's website yesterday. "We are saddened that OWS protestors chose to ignore yesterday’s messages fromArchbishop Tutu, from the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, and from Bishop of New York Mark S. Sisk." He added, "We will continue to provide places of refuge and the responsible use of our facilities in the Wall Street area."
Organizers of yesterday's action tell Mother Jones that they expect this to be the "last major occupation attempt until the spring."